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324 



THE ILLUSTRATED MAGAZINE OF ART, 



MAETIN SCHONGATIER. 



Martin Schongauer, commonly known by the name of 
Martin Schon, and called by foreign writers on art, Le Beau 
Martin, or Hiibsche Martin, was born at Colmar in Holstein, 
about the year 1445. According to Bryan, he was born at 
Culmbach, in Franconia, about the year 1420; but this is 
now generally believed to be incorrect, though the precise 
time and place of the artist's birth are not fully settled. 
In his youth he practised the trade of a goldsmith, and 
it was not until middle age that he distinguished himself 
by his extraordinary powers in the arts of painting and 



conveyed into Italy, France, Spain, England, and other coun- 
tries ?" The churches 'of St. Martin and St. Francis, at 
Colmar, contain some of his pictures, which artists consider it 
a privilege to copy. 

According to Sandrart, Martin was on a footing of intimate 
friendship with Perugini ; as a mark of mutual esteem, they 
exchanged from time to time some of their drawings. Vasari 
relates that Michael Angelo, in his youth, had studied and 
copied one of Martin's plates, representing the Temptation of 
St. Anthony. 




MARTIN SCHONGATJER. 



engraving. On the back of a portrait of him is a German 
inscription, of which we give the translation : — " Master 
Martin Schongauer, an artist, sumamed the Handsome, died 
at Colmar, on the 2nd of February, 1499. God be merciful to 
him. And I, Jean Sargkmaur, was a pupil of his, in the year 
1488." Upon a drawing in the possession of Heinnekin, Albert 
Durer wrote: — "This piece was drawn by Martin Schon, in 
1470, being then a young man. I, Albert Durer, having learnt 
the above, write this to his honour, in the year 1517." Schon- 
gauer was. considered one of the greatest artists of his age. 
"•What shall I say," writes Wimpheling, "what shall I say 
of Martin Schon of Colmar, who so excelled in the art of 
painting, that his pictures have been much sought after, and 



Schongauer has considerable reputation as an engraver ; he 
was one of the first who practised the art with a view to taking 
impressions on paper. There are 116 authentic pieces by his 
hand, and 100 others are attributed to him. He has engraved 
a large number of sacred and some ornamental subjects, among 
which is the beautiful censer which we reproduce. Besides 
being an excellent painter and engraver, he possessed much 
skill as a goldsmith. Some writers on art have asserted, that 
it was at his house that Albert Durer worked in his youth ; 
but he does not mention this in the autobiography which he 
has left us. 

Martin Schongauer died in the year 1499 ; the inscription 
on his portrait gives evidence of this, as well as the researches 



THE ILLUSTRATED MAGAZINE Ofr ART. 



325 



of Counsellor de Lerse, in Colmar, from which it appears that 
he lived longer than is commonly supposed. Christopher 
Scheurl and Sandrart say that he died about the year 1486. 

Christ, in his dictionary of monograms, says that Martin 
Schon's master was one Lupert Ruse, an obscure personage, 
and from him he must have learnt engraving. The influence of 
the school of the Low Countries upon his talent rendered his 
style peculiar in Germany. His contemporaries were unani- 



pictures imputed to him, are to be found at Uhn, S.tuttgard, 
Nuremberg, Munich, Schleisshuin, Berlin, Basle, Vienna, and 
Milan ; but especially^ his native place, Colmar, where are 
still to be seen the marvels of which Wimpheling speaks. Some 
of these paintings at Colmar have been attributed to Albert 
Durer ; they are preserved in the Priory, which is now the 
College; others, ascribed on doubtful authority to Martin 
Schon, were taken to. this College during the disturbances in 




CEN8ER OP THE FIFTEENTH CINTTJRY. DESIGNED BY MAL.TIN SCHONGAUER. 



mous in praising the grace of his compositions, and, in short, 
he was one of the first who introduced feeling and expression 
into painting. He had no rival among the German artists of 
his day, except, perhaps, Michael Wohlgemuth, or Herlim. 
In the collections of Spain, Italy, France, and England, more 
pictures are attributed to Martin Schon than one artist could 
have executed, especially one who divided his time between 
the brush and the graver. Not one of his paintings bears the 
monogram with which his engravings are stamped. The best 



the last century. A very fine picture, by this brilliant master, 
representing the Madonna, the size of life, seated on a grassy 
bank, adorns the church of St. Martin at Colmar. At the 
Museum at Paris, a picture of the Israelites gathering Manna 
in the Desert is said to be the production of Martin Schon- 
gauer. Passarant speaks confidently of there being one of 
Martin Schon's pictures in Mr. Ader's collection in London ; 
but so many are ascribed to him falsely, that we can only rely 
on the authenticity of those at Colmar.